Solar Decathlon: The Race to Build the Most Efficient Solar Home

Can a liberal education prepare you to compete in the Solar Decathlon? In the spirit of Thoreau, “Self Reliance,” from Middlebury, will be the only submission from a liberal arts school to the Department of Energy’s architectural competition on the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., Sept. 23–Oct. 2, 2011.

Chosen as one of twenty finalists from around the world, Middlebury’s house captures the power of the sun and seeks to capture the essence of a traditional New England farmhouse. Middlebury has been chronicling their progress on Planet Forward as they construct their home and bring it to DC to compete. We recently featured their project and a another competitor--University of Maryland--in our segment on Nightly Business Report.

The hope is that a green energy breakthrough could come from one of these houses. University of Maryland might already be close, with their Liquid Desiccant Waterfall. This is a waterfall in the house that actually draws humidity out of the air.

Will Middlebury’s liberal education be able to out-compete some of the tech schools in the world? Will Maryland’s unique “water wall” win? Let us know who YOU think will win by commenting below!

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